Are Rat Terriers Hunting Dogs? Truth And Hints

Are Rat Terriers Hunting Dogs? Truth And Hints

Why do you think Rat Terriers are called by their name? They are a fusion of at least seven dog breeds, so why are they called Ratties? That’s precisely what we try to uncover in today’s article.

So, are Rat Terriers hunting dogs? Yes. They are. Rat Terriers are the best rodent hunters in the world, with a record of killing over 2000 rats within 7 hours. Their speed and the agile body are the facts that define them as a hunter.

Are Rat Terriers Hunting Dogs? 

Italian Greyhounds, Whippets, Fox Terrier, Manchester Terrier, Old English White Terrier (now extinct), Bull Terrier, and Beagle; These seven dog breeds have helped create the legendary Rat Terrier. 

Beagles gave them the ability to hunt as packs, while Whippets and Greyhounds increased their speed. 

But why did farmers need a speedy hunter dog to help them in agriculture? They are not bred to plant seeds or collect the harvest.

The Rat Terrier’s job was to hunt rats and keep control of the jackrabbit population. Ratties may be small in size, but that’s precisely why they were the best to do the job. 

They can run faster behind their prey. Their body is weightless, and they can zoom in on their target in no time. So, yes. Rat Terriers are hunting dogs. 

If you ever watch a Rat Terrier hunting, you’ll be surprised to see how quick and efficient they are. His agile body quickly captures his prey’s fast turns and secures it without letting it escape. 

Even though farmers no longer use Ratties, you can still see Rat Terriers hunting small animals such as squirrels, rodents, etc. 

Characteristics Of Rat Terrier As A Hunting Dog

This breed is produced by combining seven dog breeds, as I explained before. So, unsurprisingly, our cute Rattie has a mixture of characteristics of all those breeds mentioned above.

But let’s see which of these helped him come up as the best hunting dog in the world. 

  • They are fast

A hunter should be fast. Or else he would lose his prey. But our Rat Terrier is pretty fast and can align himself to any trick or turn the prey uses to escape.

But don’t worry, when a Rat Terrier is hunting, he’ll never miss his target. If you’re ever considering owning one, never forget to keep him out of reach of small animals.

Because no one knows when his Rat Terrier hunting drive would arise, stopping them would be a dream with his super-speed of 27kmph. 

  • Small-bodied 

Yes, Ratties have pretty short legs and a pea-sized body. But don’t mistake his body features and think that Ratties are bad hunters. That petite body is the main feature that enables him to hunt more efficiently. 

They hunt small and rodent-like animals who can quickly get away through small spaces and make abrupt turns. Yet, our Rat Terrier also has a tiny body that can adjust anyway he needs.

  • Very smart

Ratties are intelligent and very easy to train. He could quickly learn commands and get into action, sparing less time.

Therefore, you’ll have a properly trained hunter at your service within a few weeks. 

Tips For Training A Rat Terrier To Hunt

Nowadays, with the growing population, rats, too, have started multiplying. They spread like a virus, resisting many poisons and baits designed to eradicate them. 

If you have this problem, we have an excellent solution for that. Get a Rat Terrier. Then you could watch your Rat Terrier hunting the problem-causing rats one by one. 

But how do you train him to do this? Training your Terrier to hunt vermin is like dusting out an already present skill. You have to kick start this hunting gene, and you’ll see a Rat Terrier hunting rodents like a wildfire. 

Let’s see how you could do it. A word of advice, make sure you take professional help before doing this. It’s better to be safe all the time.

  • Step 01 – Meet Your Rat Terrier With The Prey

First of all, you need to show your Rattie what his prey looks like. Introduce him to a caged rat. Be sure to reward him when he shows interest. It will reinforce his aggression towards the quarry.

Repeat this daily, and let him know that his aggression, barking, and snarling at the rat are appreciated. Praise him and reward him with a treat when he’s aroused. 

  • Step 02 – Get Him Used To See Outdoors

There are so many distractions in the environment outside. But your Rat Terrier should get used to this, so place the cage with the rat out in the open and give you Rattie some space to get worked up about it.

Repeat for several days until he can focus without getting distracted. 

  • Step 03 – Initiate The Practicals

Then it’s time to test what he has learned. Take your Rat Terrier hunting real live mice. If you could include other trained Rat Terriers, your pet will learn from them sooner.

Repeat this for several days until he can locate the rat and chase to hunt them. 

Are Rat Terriers Still Hunting Dogs? The Truth

Even though Ratties are bred to hunt rodents, the need for their service died down as time passed. New methods of rodent control were introduced alongside poisons.

Therefore, you can say that they lost their jobs when the world started modernizing. 

Now, they are much more domesticated. Their size and intelligence made them a trendy breed among dog lovers. Without the need for rat control, they became pets rather than working dogs. 

But still, they do have this hunting trait covered in dust in their genes. So with little practice, you can dust it out and put it to good use.

Their hunting skills have not been dead, just that they are hidden. So, if you own a Rattie, train him to hunt, and you’ll have a skilled Rat Terrier hunting all your pests away.

Thank you for reading this post. Stay tuned with Jack Russell Owner for more interesting posts.


  • George Brown

    George B. is the founder of the JRO Organization. He believes in creating a better world for domestic animals. He believes domestic animals are more vulnerable than other animals, especially dogs, since they have been used to depending on their owners for generations. So, he started JRO to share his ideas and insights while helping vulnerable dogs worldwide. George runs multiple projects on street dogs in developing countries, especially Sri Lanka.

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